NATO and European Security: Alliance Politics from the End of the Cold War to the Age of Terrorism

NATO and European Security: Alliance Politics from the End of the Cold War to the Age of Terrorism

NATO and European Security: Alliance Politics from the End of the Cold War to the Age of Terrorism

NATO and European Security: Alliance Politics from the End of the Cold War to the Age of Terrorism

Synopsis

From the end of the Cold War to the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001, the NATO Alliance has changed profoundly. This book explores the multifaceted consequences of NATO's adjustment to new international and domestic political and security realities. Internal Alliance politics and matters of relative power within the membership have strongly influenced recent NATO developments. Several major issues challenging the Alliance are examined, including how the impact of efforts to develop an enhanced common European security and defense policy have affected NATO: whether missile defense is driving the United States and its European allies closer or further apart; how the experience of NATO in the Balkans and elsewhere brought alliance members together or made NATO cohesion more difficult to maintain; and in what way the changing role of NATO has influenced American and Canadian participation in the Alliance. An important guidepost to pivotal changes and likely NATO developments, scholars and policymakers of Atlantic and international politics will find these meditations indispensable.

Excerpt

International relations is a thoroughly humanistic subject. All its actors are human beings, or they are institutions and organizations built and controlled by human intention and maintained by daily decision-making. Individual states, which emerged as the most powerful and decisive actors on the world stage over the past 350 years, are not reified constructs with an independent will or social reality beyond human ken or volition. Properly regarded, they are wholly human constructs. All states are designed for, and are bent to, the realization of goals and aspirations of human communities. That is true whether those ambitions are good or evil, spiritual or material, personal or dynastic, or represent ethnic, national, or emerging cosmopolitan identities. So, too, is the international society of states a human construct, replete with its tangled labyrinth of international organizations, an expansive system of international law that creates binding obligations across frontiers, ancient norms of diplomacy and ritualized protocol, webs of economic, social and cultural interaction, and a venerable penchant for disorder, discord, and war.

Immanuel Kant observed with acute accuracy: “Out of the crooked timber of Humanity, no straight thing was ever made.” The endless drama of human affairs thus gives rise to motley events, decisions, and complex causal chains. At the international level, too, we encounter the foibles of human beings as individuals and in the aggregate, and come upon a mix of the rational and irrational in human motivation. All that makes formal “modeling” of international politics a virtual impossibility—a fact that is itself a source of deep frustration to idealistic reformers and social scientists alike. On the other hand, precisely because international relations is so deeply humanistic a subject, it is a rich realm for the exercise of broad political and moral judgment. It is a natural arena for serious ethical reflection by and about those who frame foreign policies and practice statecraft. It is proper for scholars and informed citizens to praise or censure leadership decisions and actions. In short, as in all realms of human endeavor, moral judgment is not only implicit in every decision or action (or inaction) taken in international relations, it is a core duty of leadership, an apt function of scholarship, and a basic requirement for any educated citizenry.

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